McCormack, IMG Expand Rep Services into New “Arena”
May 12, 2021
Mark McCormack is famously known for his creation of what we consider to be modern-day sports marketing, representing some of the most prolific athletes from Arnold Palmer to Billie Jean King. However, since the founding of IMG in 1960, McCormack has proved that his marketing and management skills far surpass just the world of sports.
On November 22, 1990, Margaret Thatcher announced retirement from her position as the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. That very same week, McCormack reached out to potential connections in order to pitch his representation services to the pioneering world leader.
Due to political tensions, Thatcher was a challenging prospective client to schedule a meeting with. Despite the difficulty, McCormack proved perseverant, stating in a follow-up letter to Sir Jeffrey Sterling, a fellow member of the British Conservative party, in Exhibit A that, “The last thing that I would want to happen is to pick up a newspaper and discover she had signed with a representative without ever having had a chance at least to have gotten into a dialogue with her.”
His persistence to mutual contacts paid off, as he eventually obtained several glowing recommendations to Thatcher, shown in Exhibit C. Sir Jeffrey Sterling ended up passing along his information, writing to Thatcher, “He is a most creative, an innovative man. During recent years, he has broadened his sphere of operation…and develops the affairs of prominent people drawn from a much wider front than the world of golf and tennis where, of course, he is best known.”
In a similar vein, the editor of the Daily Mail wrote to the politician, as shown in Exhibit B, “I earnestly suggest he is the best man to look after your interests, since he is an expert in all those fields in which I think you will be subject to hundreds, if not thousands, of requests.”
Even after reaching Thatcher, McCormack was still left with proving that IMG would be the best representation firm for her, which he does in a 17-page personal letter, found in the McCormack Archives. A brief summary of what was entailed can be seen in the 1991 letter to Mr. Abel Hadden, shown in Exhibit D.
After Margaret Thatcher’s retirement in 1990, Mark McCormack was determined to gain her business as a representation client. Reaching out to several mutual contacts, like Sir Jeffrey Sterling, McCormack eventually was granted a meeting with the former Prime Minister, and later was offered her business.
The editor of The Daily Mail, a London newspaper, writes to Margaret Thatcher on behalf of Mark McCormack. He suggests McCormack to be the “best man to look after [her] interests,” despite being his opposition in their everyday business.
Sir Jeffrey Sterling, a fellow member of the British Conservative Party, writes to Margaret Thatcher to make her aware of Mark McCormack’s attempts to meet with her. He suggests that although he is most well-known in the worlds of golf and tennis, he could be a creative and innovative management choice.